A blog can help drive traffic to your website, establish you as an authority, attract customers to your business and to your brand, and create loyal followers from existing customers (customer retention tool) – if you blog well. If you blog badly, it’s a lot of wasted time and effort. Here are 8 tips to improve your blog and make it a more powerful selling tool.
A real estate blog on your professional website can be helpful for many reasons, but most use it for inbound marketing reasons, or, in other words, attracting potential customers to your website when they’re Googling questions you can answer.
Other reasons include using your blog to provide existing customers with after-sale support and information, to create content for your email newsletter, or to create content for your social media activity. These are all outstanding reasons to have a blog.
But deciding to introduce a real estate blog and actually executing one successfully can often be two different things. Here are a few tips that will help you achieve your goals.
Define your goals:
Decide if your blog is for reasons of SEO/SEM (SEO = search engine optimisation; SEM = search engine marketing, which means you’ll be doing some paid Facebook and Google Ad Words activity with your blog). Or perhaps your goal is to simply have a blog so you can have social media content or an email newsletter? Be clear about your reasons for having one. Perhaps talk to a digital marketing expert who will be able to help you define your goals.
Consistency is king
It’s often said that content is king in the blogging world, but it’s not. Consistency is more important. No matter how great your content is, if you only write one a month, skip a few months, then publish another one, you will fail to build a regular following. You must post regularly. Weekly is best. Fortnightly is OK. Monthly is not good enough. To boil it down into simple terms, think of your blog as a giant repeating billboard on the Bruce Highway. Your customers are driving down the highway, headed to destinations unknown. You want to reach them with your marketing message – “Over here, look at me, I can help you in some way”. You have one brilliant billboard at the start of their journey, somewhere near Sydney, but as they head north, they don’t see another one until they hit Byron Bay. Of course, by the time they’re at Byron, they’re exhausted and distracted by Byron’s natural beauty. They’re not as receptive to your message. They vaguely remember your awesome billboard from the start of the journey, but let’s be honest, that’s some 12 hours ago and 45 games of eye spy, 32 games of ‘car cricket’ and countless ‘are we there yet’ from the kids. Hit them with repeat messages all the way to Byron and by the time they get there they’ll not only remember it, they’ll be playing a game of ‘how long until the next one comes along’.
Write it yourself or hire someone?
How good are your blogging skills? And how much time do you have on your hands? Also, you need to understand that being good at English in high school is very different to the skills for blogging. Successful blog posts have a structure that is specific to blogs, that have a readability factor, that use keywords and that work very hard to be the most helpful content possible. Can you do all that to a high standard? Will your real estate blog be better than your competitor’s, (who probably has hired a professional)? And while we’re on that subject, a good blog post will probably take you at least four hours to write. A professional blogger can write you a post in much less time, depending how much research is required. It’s about being productive and efficient with your time. And, as I’ve mentioned before, do you really want the hassle of the regular weekly deadline? There’s a lot to be said for outsourcing the things you’re not good at and sticking to the things you are, such as selling or managing property.
Plan your content:
Use a content calendar, or spreadsheet, to keep track of your topics. What you’ve written about and you’re going to write about. There are plenty of free templates available on the internet, (Google “content calendar template”) but I just use a simple excel spreadsheet. This helps me track all the topics I’ve written about, the date they were published, a link to the relevant post, and any social media that I’ve done with the posts. I also have all the topics listed for the next four months. Whenever I sit down to have my writing days, I can easily see where I’m up to, what needs to be done and can jump straight into writing those posts. In that spreadsheet I also have a dashboard set up for measuring success, traffic to my posts, traffic to my social media, engagement metrics and any conversion metrics.
Blend evergreen content with time-sensitive content:
It can be easy to pick off the low-hanging fruit of a real estate blog and write about interest rate rises, median house price moves in your area and changes to legislation around investing or first-home buying. These are all good topics to write about, but these topics are time sensitive. A post about the RBA rates announcement will be out of date within a quarter. Writing about the median house price going up by more than 3 per cent in one year is good, but again, it is information that will become out of date when the next quarterly report comes out from CoreLogic or from your state’s Real Estate Institute.
When a potential customer is googling for more real estate information they don’t want to know about the rates from a year ago, or what the first home owners’ grant was doing two years ago. Create a blend of evergreen content and time-sensitive content. The exact balance of that mix is up to you, however, as an experienced real estate blogger I would recommend 70-30 mix or even 80-20, weighted towards evergreen. You want most of your content to be helpful and current, and this means writing more evergreen content than timely content.
What’s evergreen content?
Evergreen real estate content is content that never dates. Some examples of evergreen real estate content are:
- How do I choose a real estate agent?
- How do I prepare my home for sale?
- What happens at auction?
- Should I sell by private treaty or by auction? These are all topics that will be as accurate and timely today as they will be in a year’s time. Using evergreen content is a good way to ensure that readers will spend longer on your website, which will help with your Google rankings and your bounce rate statistics.
Blog about relevant local issues:
A real estate blog is often as much about “owning” a geographical area as it is about owning online space. A common search term that first-time real estate customers (either first time buyers or first-time sellers) type into Google is “Real estate agent [insert suburb]”.
They know the search results that Google delivers will be agents who active in their suburb. Being returned in those search results means you will need a good keyword strategy, so ensure the blogger you hire has some runs on the board to show you in this area. It can be a very powerful tool for a real estate professional, whether you’re a sales agent, a property manager or a buyer’s agent. For example, if you type into Google, “Tarragindi bowls club redevelopment” you’ll see a real estate agent, Michael Boor, in the results. This is an example of how we (in this case, it was my husband’s handiwork using a mix of video and written content) tied a local real estate issue to a local real estate agent. It reaped significant traffic rewards and resulted in solid enquiry levels.
Social media content:
Your real estate blog is an excellent tool to provide content for your social media activity. As you’re no doubt aware, social media is a hungry beast and requires constant feeding. A well-written blog for your real estate website will give you new material every week to share on social media. This will make you helpful to your followers in your organic activity and will contribute to attracting new followers via your paid activity. A blog is a very important tool if you are using social media.
No matter what your reasons are for having a blog, there’s no doubt you’re striving to achieve the best blog you can in order to achieve your goals. If you have any questions about blogging that I haven’t answered here I would love to answer them. Either leave a comment below, connect with me on social media (Facebook or Instagram are my preferred hangouts), or email me: felicity at felicitymoore dot com dot au.